National ATM Council Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of First ATM In America

Posted On: 9/5/2019

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JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The National ATM Council, the U.S. based trade organization representing America's thousands of independent, nonbank ATM entrepreneurs on Sept. 2 marked the 50-year milestone of introduction of the first ATM in the U.S. on Sept. 2, 1969.

The first ATM installed in the U.S. was at a Chemical Bank branch location in Rockville Center, NY. ATMs continued as an effective monopoly for bank providers until 1996, when ATM surcharges were authorized by the global networks in the face of mounting legal and legislative opposition. With the introduction of more entrepreneurial, lower-cost ATM competitors, America's ATM base has grown from approximately 130,000 ATMs in 1969 to approximately 470,000 ATMs today in the U.S.

"ATMs are so much part of our national landscape in the U.S., it's difficult to even imagine what it must have been like back in 1969 when the first ATM became operational," said George Sarantopoulos, NAC chair and chief executive of Brooklyn, NY-based Access One Solutions. "Nowadays, we take them for granted and don't even realize how much ATMs permeate our world and drive commerce all across our country."

According to a 2018 UNF Coggin College of Business independent study, there were 470,135 ATMs in operation in the U.S. in 2016, out of which 278,394 (59.3%) were independent, nonbank terminals. The study demonstrated that it was the independent, nonbank ATMs that constituted the cash terminals/financial services outlets serving inner city and rural areas throughout our nation, which would otherwise be "banking deserts" without bank branches or bank ATMs.

Approximately two-thirds of U.S. ATMs are in locations other than bank premises, including a wide range of retail and public venues. There is a growing trend for financial institutions to "outsource" some or all of their ATM operations to independent, nonbank providers; including "bank branded" ATMs which appear as bank machines but are owned and operated by independents.

"The ATM business is continuing to evolve, with an emphasis on making our terminals integrate well with mobile phone apps and "touch & go" credit/debit cards, as these new forms of payment technologies continue to grow," said Patrick Conner, NAC vice-chair and founder and chief executive of Westlake Village, CA-based "To think of how far the technology has already come is mind boggling, and we are seeing another major leap forward in the form of software-based enhancements to the ATM that are now becoming possible."

The National ATM Council will be holding its annual industry conference Oct. 15-17 at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas for a special celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ATMs in America with the largest gathering of independent, nonbank ATM providers and suppliers in the nation. Call (904) 683-6533 or click here for more information.